Thursday, January 24, 2013

Aunt Bea's Banana Cake

So I love family. And today while it's cold and snowy, I was thinking of all the cool family stuff I've learned to appreciate over the years.

Fights on Facebook, notwithstanding!!!!

Here is a gratuitous pic of my Yankee winter this week:

And here's one of my big maple tree. I love this tree, in a very Anne of Green Gables and the cherry tree kind of way:

So yes, back to family. I love the whole concept of family

My family, Dave's family, your family. I just love how weird and normal we all are and how we manage to function even though every sibling is different from generation to generation.

There's a reason God ORDERED us to love our brothers and sisters.

Well Aunt Bea is a great person and every year for the Eichas Family Reunion she'd make her famous banana cake. She's also my husband's Godmother and she's got gorgeous soft, blue eyes, heroine-type eyes, know what I mean???

And every year I would WAIT for that day to eat Aunt Bea's banana cake.  Now back in the day you wouldn't DARE nip into desserts first. It wasn't done.


I'm older, wiser, and have learned the truth about "Eat Dessert First"!  As the aunts and uncles aged, my generation started making more and more of the main course foods. But Aunt Bea still made her banana cake.  One year she gave us the recipe.

OH. MY. GOSH. I was so stinkin' excited!!!!!  YAY!!!!!!  I could make Aunt Bea's banana cake! Happy days are here again!!!!!

Well, I blew it. STUPIDLY. Instead of reading the recipe and following it, I used regular flour. DUMB.  But I have seen the error of my ways. I had Dave buy a couple of boxes of SoftasSilk flour mix when Jan Drexler (LOVE YOU!!!) told me to get cake flour in the house.

So this week I had bananas and a hankering for Aunt Bea's cake and when I dug that old recipe up, I realized the mistake instantly....  I'd used regular flour.

This time I followed the recipe exactly (although I soured milk with lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a measuring cup, then filled the cup to 2/3 full with milk and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes... well, ten or so because I got talking.... :)

So here it is and I topped it with the whipped cream frosting recipe that Tex shared on Monday.... that was the frosting recipe Aunt Bea always used, too, although hers called for shortening instead of butter. I like the butter version better.

Naw, I won't make you work from that, but isn't it a hoot?

Aunt Bea's Banana Cake

2 1/4 Cup Softasilk flour
1 2/3 Cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/4 Cup mashed ripe bananas
2/3 Cup shortening

Put all into a big bowl.

Blend or beat for 3 full minutes.

You may have to look far and wide to find banana mashers as cute as mine. This is Brody (on left), 'Lijah and Meggie (on right) and they're mashing the bananas.

For no pay.

Child labor!!!!!  :)  Of the best and most wondrous kind, right?

 Bake in greased/floured 13 x 9" pan for 30 to 40 minutes.... Mine was about 34 minutes. The top browns more than traditional cake, but a normal cake test of a toothpick inserted into the  middle works well.

 Aunt Bea always said the secret to why hers was so good was that she pulled it out of the oven a couple of minutes early.... That may be true, but using the right FLOUR would have helped me years ago. In my lame defense, when I first got this card I didn't even know a thing called "Softasilk" existed, so my card has "soft silk" flour....  But that's no excuse for messing up a perfectly good recipe!!!

Here is the link to Mindy's version of the whipped cream frosting Aunt Bea always used:  (on some of your computers it's actually two days/posts below this one so you can scroll down)... "The Texan's Whipped Cream Frosting" 


  1. thinks one of your cute banana mashers thought she was a mashed banana taster. :-)

    Still totally leery of that icing...but I'll have to give it a try since y'all rave about it.

    I can't believe cake flour would make such a difference in a recipe. I'll have to check that out to, though I'm sure I've never seen it at my grocery store.

  2. Kav, you need to send me a grocery list of what they don't sell by you. So far I've got cinnamon chips, Softasilk flour and peanut butter chips.

    Anything else?

    And yeah, I had no idea the lighter flour would make that much difference but it does. This cake came out so moist and light with a really delicate flavor, slightly dense and moist but delicate. If that makes any sense at all! Just how Aunt Bea made it!!!

  3. Oh, this looks yummy, Ruthy. And a new use for brown bananas. A girl can only make so many loaves of banana nut bread. Especially when her BFF comes over bearing a loaf when you just made two yourself that morning. Great minds thinks alike. Which, in my case, can be kinda scary.

    1. Hahahaha! It does get scary! You know, I love this recipe so much more than traditional banana breads. It might be just me, but this melts-in-your-mouth with tenderness and flavor. I'm still amazed that it came out right!!! YaY!!!!

  4. Oh Ruthy, (LOVE YOU BACK!), I knew you'd discover the wonderfulness of cake flour! It makes the recipe into a true cake, doesn't it?

    Kav, around here the brand names are "Swan's Down" and "Wondra". They're usually a little separate from the regular flour on the grocery shelf, and they're sold in a box or can instead of a bag.

    And Ruthy, the best thing about your post is that handwritten recipe card! I have some of my grandmother's and great-grandmother's, and I cherish them. When I was talking to my Dad a few weeks ago, he told me he threw out a bunch of my Mom's recipe cards.... I refrained from screaming or otherwise making noises that would make him think I was dying 1200 miles away, but I think I was choking - then he told me he didn't throw all of them out. Feel sorry for my Dad - he has to put up with me :)

    Your banana mashers are so cute. But where do you get the overripe bananas? I bring bananas home, but then they disappear somewhere (I blame boys.) I'll have to buy some and hide them...

    1. Oh, and I love those winter pictures! Beautiful!

    2. Jan, I'm glad you love the winter pics! This is our "week" of winter it seems, and it's so stinkin' pretty. And crazy cold!!!! Anyway, yes, you were right about the flour. I now have it in my cupboard always. And I've had fun with it. You know, I buy bananas at Sam's where they're reasonable and I always buy extras because the kids love 'em... but then they get off that kick for a few days and I end up with a few overripe ones. Or Beth and Jon bring them over because they don't get them eaten when they're nice. I'm dying to make a raspberry something. I've got a real hankering for berry pie.... Or maybe I'm just hungry. It is 7:30 at night... Food would be a welcome thing 'bout now!

  5. I just love hand-written recipes that are from someone special!! I have the recipe for my red velvet cake that came from my college roommate's grandmother. When her grandmother died, I offered to write my own copy and mail the original to my friend. But she told me Granny would want me to keep it. So I have and treasure it.

    Ruthy, this sounds so good! I think it would be nice as a layer cake, and then put strawberry jam between layers. :)

  6. Missy, I love strawberry and banana! Yes, jam or pie filling, a sweet layer of strawberry deliciousness! Hey, my strawberries (fresh) say they're from Florida... Is this true? Does Florida have berries in January?

    Anyone know?

    1. Ruthy, I always figured they're grown in hot houses. But maybe not, since we get strawberries pretty early here in GA.